Tenchi Universe Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tenchi Universe

Tenchi Universe Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     December 19, 2000
Release Date: December 19, 2000


Tenchi Universe Vol. #5
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Fugitives! Tenchi and the girls are wanted throughout the galaxy for attempting to overthrow the Jurai government as they flee through space to Jurai to clear their names. With the Galaxy Police and the Jurai Military on their trail, they have very little time to try and find out who framed them, especially when they have no money and they just ran out of gas!

The Review!
Ah, now that we're firmly in the second half of the series, things are actually starting to happen... like the plot!

Audio:
As the action starts to pick up in the series, so do the audio effects. Both tracks are pretty solid in pumping them out, right from the great opening song and throughout the show. Dialogue is primarily through the center channel and there's a decent amount of directionality across the front soundstage through the space battles and a few of the action dialogue sequences.

Video:
Things are definitely picking up since earlier in the series when things took an apparent nosedive. Video quality is pretty solid throughout with only a few rainbows and edge enhanced jaggies and pixellation. Colors are strong and vibrant throughout with no noticeable oversaturation. We gave this a spin in our older Toshiba direct view set on the Sony 3000 player and that smoothed out more of the edge enhancement, so your mileage may vary.

Packaging:
One of the more amusing things I've been doing with each Tenchi Universe release is comparing it to the laserdisc covers to see how they're changing it while using the same artwork. The covers for the Space saga laserdiscs were pretty dark in nature with blue and black space backgrounds. The cover for the DVD, still using the same artwork, manages to get it all on there and slip a yellowish hue around it to give it a brighter appearance. Looks interesting. The back cover gives a brief rundown of the episodes as well as the episode numbers and titles. The insert provides some more very sharp looking artwork, including the rather phallic looking guardian logs of Ayeka's dressed up in pimp fashion. Kind of amusing actually...

Menus:
While all the menus are static, the intro menu does play the opening song in a loop. Design wise they're pretty simple but very functional and look decent enough. Access times are fast and things work without any issue.

Extras:
Things are a bit slim this time, with only a couple of character profiles and a few pieces of line art. Some interesting designs, but overall nothing that will blow your socks off.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Things start off a bit slowly this time around, with Kiyone finally getting her assignment back at headquarters and away from Mihoshi. They group all gets together at the Masaki house to wish a fond farewell for Kiyone, though Tenchi's lagging a bit behind from school.

When he arrives, something is amiss... or rather, missing. His house in fact! His grandfather strolls in and the two try to figure out what's going on when suddenly a sizeable shell of some sort slams into the ground, popping out everyone except for Ryoko, Ayeka and Sasami.

The Space segment of the series does some fun stuff. We learn quickly that a new emperor has been enthroned on Jurai and that he's moving quickly to secure his position during this surprising time. He's also a crown prince whose not been seen for decades, though he does appear to have the abilities needed to be such a person. But bad things are afoot during all of this, as the emperor Yosho has pulled strings to get Ayeka and Sasami declared traitors to the throne and make up a story about a coup that the two tried to pull in conjunction with Ryoko.

While there isn't any real politicking going on here that you see in some of the more thoughtful series, the space opera style works well. Kiyone and Mihoshi by association with Ayeka end up on the most wanted list as well, leaving them and the rest of the gang heading out into the stars to rescue the others and try and track down what's going on.

There's definitely more going on with characters in these episodes and challenges to the status quo, though some familiar things are kept (such as the Masaki residence being brought into space). While not garnering a huge role, Tenchi's father manages to get in a few good lines and actually asserts himself a bit as well. The one to watch though is the knowing looks and glances by Tenchi's grandfather as the episodes progress.

Kiyone fans will definitely be happy with this arc and her greater exposure while those looking for more of an actual plot will be pleased. It does get sidelined a bit here and there with the gang trying make some money to keep going, but these lead to some interesting situations, as the bar sequence here does.

While things aren't at their height yet, these episodes do good to start setting up the second half of the series quite well.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Conceptual Art (10 pieces)

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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